Not for the first time, Pete Buttigieg is vowing to do something about America's "racist" interstate highway system. As absurdly silly as it might be for the Biden-tapped US Transportation Secretary to be prioritizing tackling supposedly racist roads, it was perhaps the question itself from a reporter that reached new asinine depths - made all the more laughable given the "seriousness" of the lengthy exchange related to last week's bipartisan infrastructure bill which passed through Congress.
This was a real question by CNN (who else?) White House correspondent April Ryan during a Monday press briefing... amid Biden admin plans to "deconstruct the racism" built into America's infrastructure, she asked: can you give us the construct of how you will deconstruct the racism that was built into roadways?"
Reporter @AprilDRyan to @PeteButtigieg: “Can you give us the construct of how you will deconstruct the racism that was built into the roadways? ... Can you talk to us about how that could be deconstructed?” pic.twitter.com/FXXEq5tuQL— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) November 8, 2021
Buttigieg responded: "I’m still surprised that had some people were surprised when I pointed to the fact that if a highway was built for the purpose of dividing a White and a Black neighborhood or if an underpass was constructed such that a bus carrying mostly Black and Puerto Rican kids to a beach, or that would have been, in New York was designed too low for it to pass by..."
He argued that this makes it "obvious" that "racism" was built into the road system: "...that that obviously reflects racism that went into those design choices," he said. "We have everything to gain by acknowledging" these "racist" choices, he explained. The reference was to an April interview wherein Buttigieg claimed:
"...there is racism physically built into some of our highways."
At this point CNN's Ryan pressed him on potential efforts to actually "reconstruct communities that this happened to..." She said these roads were "meant to be racist." She seemed to define this as basically any and all beltways and roadways erected prior to the Civil Rights Act.
Meanwhile, an actual Bloomberg headline: US Will Use Infrastructure Bill to Address Racist Highway Design...
Pete Buttigieg says the U.S. will use about $1 billion from Biden's infrastructure bill to remedy racial inequities in U.S. highway design https://t.co/nTHt7e9OoW— Bloomberg (@business) November 8, 2021
"Please make our roads thinner and less racist"— Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) November 8, 2021
This is where our media is today. https://t.co/7T8Hya03Dj
That's when Buttigieg actually seemed to agree that some overpasses and roadway infrastructure "might have to come down" - as in some of the "racist" roadwork will get demolished...
"Sometimes it really is the case that an overpass went in a certain way that is so harmful that it's gotta come down or maybe be put underground," the Transportation Secretary said.
As with prior statements from Buttigieg which present America's vast network of highways as 'systematically racist' - immediate and widespread mockery followed the Monday afternoon exchange.
The roads are racist.— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) November 8, 2021
We must get rid of roads. https://t.co/nde3mJHn37
For example, Texas Senator Ted Cruz wrote in response to the exchange, which it should be noted went on for nearly three minutes: "The roads are racist. We must get rid of roads."